A sexual assault victim is never to blame, an expert says, no matter how much he or she has had to drink — or what the President says.
President Trump on Tuesday dismissed Deborah Ramirez’s claims that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a Yale University party, saying that her accusations should be discredited because she was drunk at the time.
“The second accuser has nothing. She admits that she was drunk. She admits time lapses,” Trump said while speaking to reporters at the United Nations General Assembly. “She said she was totally inebriated and she was all messed up, and she doesn’t know it was him but it might’ve been him.”
Laura Palumbo, the communications director for The National Sexual Violence Resource Center, said that Trump’s line of reasoning is flawed.
“It’s not uncommon for alcohol to have a role in sexual assault. It’s often described as the most common date-rape drug because of how it is used to enhance someone’s vulnerability and exploit someone,” she told the Daily News.
“We firmly believe it is never the responsibility of the victim, even when alcohol is involved. Whenever someone experiences sexual harassment, assault or abuse, what has happened to them is not the result of their actions.”
In the 2015 Association of American Universities Campus Survey on Sexual Assault, several decades after Ramirez and Kavanaugh attended Yale, 28% of female undergrads at the university said they had been victims of non-consensual sexual contact either through force or while they were incapacitated and unable to consent.
Nationwide, 23% of more than 150,000 respondents from 27 colleges across the country said they had been assaulted. Of those, less than 28% reported the assault, while about half of the victims said they didn’t report the incident because they didn’t think it was “serious enough,” saying they were “embarrassed, ashamed or (thought) that it would be too emotionally difficult.”
“People aren’t intentionally putting themselves in unsafe situations, including when they drink,” Palumbo told The News. “Whether you’re drinking or not, you’re never expecting or preparing for someone to take advantage of you and ignore your right to consent.”
Ramirez, who attended Yale University with Kavanaugh, told the New Yorker that the future judge exposed himself to her, “thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away.”
“Brett was laughing,” Ramirez said. “I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants.”
Kavanaugh denied Ramirez’s allegations.